If you flick back through BikeRadar's testing history of Pinnacle bikes you’ll see a very impressive list of wins and recommendations that’s way above the average. Some of our staff have even spent their own hard-earned cash on them.
Despite these facts, watching this deceptively simple alloy hardtail work its magic on our unsuspecting testers was an education in just how well Pinnacle have put this bike together.
We tested the Iroko in the Lake District, alongside steel hardtails that included the Ragley Piglet, Onza Jackpot and Genesis Tarn. The first shock for most of our team was that regardless of the traditional tripe about the magical ‘floated and springy’ ride properties of steel, the Pinnacle was the best conventional bike of the group – by a big margin.
A full SRAM GX group delivers crisp, positive shifting
As well as triple-butted main tubes, the frame also has big reinforcing gussets to tune ride feel. While the 142x12mm axle dropouts look like something you’d anchor suspension bridge cables in, they’re heavily cutaway on the inside edge. Add kinked, round seatstays and squared-off S-bend chainstays and you’ve got an impressively smooth yet spirited ride feel that’ll sprint climbs or skim the edges off rocky descents with equal enthusiasm.
At under 12kg, it also retains a proper weight advantage over full-sus bikes, something that's often cited as the main reason to stick with hardtails.
But reduced mass certainly doesn’t mean the Iroko is a lightweight when it comes to tackling technical trails. The top tube and front centre aren’t outlandishly long, but are stretched enough for a confidence-enhancing sense of stability.
The head angle is a fairly slack 67.2 degrees
The short 40mm stem makes it very easy to tweak maximum control out of the Vigilante front tyre. While it’s not a high-grip compound, it’s tubeless-ready and still gives decent traction.
It may not swallow big hits as easily as longer-travel versions, but the 120mm Revelation RLT fork is consistently controlled through trail chatter and mid-sized impacts. The shorter legs and stem give a tighter, more precise feel when you’re flying through technical sections relying on your split-second reactions too.
The ride is smooth but the handling is sharp and feisty
Add super positive sequential single-ring shifting from a full SRAM GX group (with smaller 30t chainring to offset low ride height) and the only thing missing from this top-value trail machine is a dropper post.
These days an alloy hardtail may be unfashionable next to a steel bike or a semi-fatty, but when it comes to value for money and an impeccably balanced, super responsive, yet forgiving and impressively tech-trail-capable hardtail, the Iroko 3 is definitely sitting near the current Pinnacle.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.